BENTON - A Chaffee man committed suicide Friday as officers were attempting to arrest him.
According to Assistant Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd, 14 felony charges were filed against G.C. Harrell Jr., 54. The charges included eight counts of statutory sodomy, four counts of promoting child pornography and two counts of sexual misconduct involving a child. The charges came about after a detailed investigation involving the Chaffee Police Department.
The charges that were filed involved the alleged acts of sodomy and misconduct by Harrell against six children between the ages of 9 and 13 over the last several years.
Officers from the local police department and the Scott County Sheriff's Department arrived at Harrell's residence with a search warrant and arrest warrant. As they were attempting to gain entry into the home, a gunshot was heard. Upon entry, officers discovered the suspect had shot himself in the head, which later caused his death.
"This case may be closed in terms of a criminal prosecution," Boyd said, "but for the victims, they will always carry these scars with them."
Boyd further stressed the dangers faced by police officers when performing their duties. "While this case is certainly a tragedy, regardless of how you look at it, the potential for danger directed towards the police cannot be underscored enough."
He recognized Chaffee police officer Wayne Hampton for his work on investigating the case. "Officer Hampton conducted a very thorough investigation and is to be commended for that. We simply have to be thankful that none of the police officers on the scene were injured."